Bruins need to do the dirty work to score in these playoffs
|04.12.12 at 12:23 pm ET|
As much as Tim Thomas was amazing under pressure, justifiably winning the Conn Smythe trophy as the MVP of the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Bruins offense was as explosive as any team in the playoffs last season.
The Bruins scored 81 goals in 25 playoff games, including games of eight, seven and six tallies as they scored when they needed to when Thomas wasn’t – well – Thomas. By comparison, the high-flying Canucks in their 25 playoff games scored just 58.
David Krejci scored 12 goals. Brad Marchand set a Bruins rookie playoff record with 11. Nathan Horton and Michael Ryder had eight apiece. Chris Kelly, Milan Lucic and Mark Recchi each had five. Count them up and that’s 21 of the 81 goals the Bruins scored that are missing to start these playoffs.
“I think it’s just playing the system properly,” Kelly said. “The minute you start thinking about scoring goals and lots of goals, that doesn’t happen. We capitalized on our opportunities last year, and hopefully we do the same this year. But by no means are we heading into these playoffs we’re going to be a big-scoring team. We take care of our own end first and work our way out.”
Funny thing, it didn’t start that well for the Bruins as they scored just once in losing their first two games at home to Montreal.
Bruins fans were panicked that the Canadiens had found a way to shut down the team’s offense and stifle its hideous power play.
This year, the Bruins realize they need to hit the ground running, knowing that they won’t have Horton (concussion) in the lineup from the onset of the playoff drive. The speedy Rich Peverley will join forces with Krejci and Lucic on the second line in hopes of matching the skill of the Nicklas Backstrom second line for the Capitals, taking the attack to the team that had to get hot late just to make the playoffs.
“I think having missed six weeks, I don’t think we expected [Peverley] to come back and be at the top of his game – it’s a work in progress,” Claude Julien said Wednesday about Peverley, who was out over a month with a third degree MCL sprain in his right knee, suffered in late February. “He is getting better – every game that he’s played he’s gotten a little better. I think if there’s one element – he’s skating well, skating’s not an issue which is a good sign because the injury he suffered was what could have hindered his skating. But it’s his hands with the puck and making plays and stuff like that, he’s just trying to find, I guess, his groove and his comfort level in regards to that. Even just watching him this week in practice it’s gotten better. So, it’s a matter of time and if he continues to improve then we’re going to be in good shape.
Then there’s the third line, centered by Kelly. Last year in the postseason, facecage and all, he had five goals and eight assists in 25 games.
“I think for the last few weeks you had been writing about that line being good – they’ve scored some goals for us and they’ve been a good line,” Julien said. “They need to be that same line going into the playoffs. With Chris, he’s a good two-way centerman. They can become really reliable at both ends of the ice but at the same time they’ve got enough skill on that line and with Rolly [Brian Rolston] who can shoot the puck, [Benoit] Pouliot who’s got the good skill level and who’s been playing better lately, they’ve got to continue to give us some offense like they have been. Last year, as you mentioned, we had a good trio there, but I think we’ve got the opportunity to recreate it again this year but with a couple of different players.